The IMRO Showcase Tour is back for another year and for the next five weeks bands from across the country will get the opportunity to display their wares before audiences in Belfast, Cork, Derry, Dublin and Kildare. State will be on hand to preview each show and to provide an introduction to the performers.
Proceedings get underway tomorrow night in Belfast with an impressive seven act line-up at The Limelight & Katy Daly’s before the show heads south to Dublin on Friday for the first of three visits to Crawdaddy. Here’s a taster of what’s in store:
Thursday, March 25th – The Limelight & Katy Daly’s, Belfast
Taking the melodic sensibilities of Thom Yorke and mashing them up with thumping breaks a la Peaches, Alan MX’s music brims with shimmering string samples, 8-bit beats and lyrics brushing on the subtle nuances of love and relationships in the 21st century. As he says himself, “When I think about it, most music is an expression of love. Or songs, anyway. The most common subject of a song is love or lust. If someone was to renounce or ignore their sexuality as a musician, I think it limits their accessibility.” With tunes that are open, honest and gorgeous, Alan MX is definately one to watch.
MP3: Alan MX – ‘Warpsichord’
With an impressive cache of powerful, abrasive pop-rock tunes at their disposal, Strait Laces are the type of band who’ll have the likes of Biffy Clyro looking over their shoulders anxiously. Since the three-piece formed in 2008 they’ve played a number of festivals throughout Ireland and the UK, bagged a spot supporting White Denim and recently recorded a session for BBC Radio One.
MP3: Strait Laces – ‘Where the Wolf Roam’
The Good Fight
Dealing in a delectable brand of melodic rock, The Good Fight have been steadily making a name for themselves since 2008, having won the BCC Rock School competition and securing a slot at Belfast’s Glasgowbury festival. BBC Radio 1 and Radio Ulster have championed the band and they receive regular airplay on both stations. With the buzz building around them, 2010 promises to be a busy year for the four college mates
MP3: The Good Fight – ‘Kick Start’
Drawing comparisions to American Analog Set and Mice Parade, Belfast threesome Heliopause are a prolific bunch – they’ve got two EPs under their belts and an album on the way – and their music has been described as, “understated but oddly overwhelming.” Their live credentials are also impressive, having supported the likes of Frightened Rabbit and Gravenhurst, along with appearances at the BBC Electric Proms and Ladyfest.
Infectiously catchy electropop is the order of the day for Uber Glitterati and it’s a talent that’s seen them compared to such legendary artists as Eurythmics, Kate Bush and Cocteau Twins. As well as working on their own material, the duo are also garnering a reputation for their remixes, with several acts having knocked on their door in recent times.
MP3: Uber Glitterati – ‘Armour’
A student who writes songs in his spare time, Craig McConkey carries on the fine tradition this country has for producing excellent singer-songwriters. His songs are unpretentious, evocative and quite addictive once you start listening to them. Instead of namechecking other artists, McConkey lists his influences as a “lack of desire for relationships” and “girls that look well” That’s alright in our book!
MP3: Craig McConkey – ‘Thumpin’ Head’
Ed Zealous didn’t have the best of starts, having had the misfortune of seeing their equipment destroyed in a fire soon after they formed. Unperturbed, the band have soldiered on and were rewarded with a slot on the ‘BBC Introducing…’ stage at the 2008 Glastonbury festival, appearing alongside Razorlight, MaxÃ¯mo Park and Hockey. They’ve recently teamed-up with producer Eliot James, who’s currently mixing demo tracks ahead of further recording sessions later this year.
MP3: Ed Zealous – ‘Pins and Needles’
Friday, March 26th – Crawdaddy, Dublin
Saccade are a band who have taken the time to perfect their sound – two years, in fact – before committing any songs to record. It’s a wise move that’s allowed them to bypass any awkward misfires early on and instead land on their feet with a well-rounded collection of tunes. The past few months has seen the release of two singles from the Dublin-based indie/pop/rock act and their debut album is set for a summer release.
MP3: Saccade – ‘See How They Fly’
The Cast of Cheers
Nope, no sign of Norm and Woody here. The Cast of Cheers may be newcomers to the Dublin scene but they’ve already created quite a stir, with their debut album Chariot earning praise from such illustrious sources as Nialler9’s blog and the Irish Times. Eschewing the idea of recording in a fancy studio, the album was made in frontman Conor Adam’s attic and made available for free download. The response has been overwhelming and the group are currently eyeing live dates in the UK, Europe and even Japan.
MP3: The Cast of Cheers – ‘Goose’
Hello Moon are a trio who firmly believe that their songs should be written the way all good rock ‘n’ roll songs should be – by locking themselves away in a room until they get it right. With songs that are jangly, melodic and extremely pleasing to the ear, it’s hard to disagree with that philosophy. And with their songwriting prowess being compared to acts as diverse as the Dubliners, Orange Juice and Belle & Sebastian, Hello Moon’s stock is destined to rise significantly during the coming year.
MP3: Hello Moon – ‘Three More Inches’
Get Me Moscow
After ditching early efforts to pioneer the ‘sex rock’ genre (good move, that), Get Me Moscow have settled on a sound that combines the pop-rock sensibilities of Kings of Leon with the swagger of The Doors. Together since 2007 when they won a battle of the bands competition, they’ve recorded an EP with Paul McGee and have recently returned to playing gigs around Dublin after spending last summer in Toronto.
MP3: Get Me Moscow – ‘Sammy’
Next week sees a second stint at Crawdaddy before the showcase heads to Cork for a date at Cyprus Avenue. Stay tuned for more details…